US Senate condemns Uganda’s Kill the Gays Bill
April 15th, 2010
The U.S. Senate yesterday unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Ugandan Parliament to reject a proposed bill that would impose harsh penalties—including life imprisonment and the death penalty—against gay people.
The resolution, sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), “encourages” the U.S. Secretary of State to “closely monitor human rights abuses that occur because of sexual orientation and to encourage the repeal or reform of laws.”
Four Senators Introduce Resolution Condeming Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill
February 4th, 2010
Four U.S. Senators — Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) — have introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the Ugandan Parliament to reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Sen. Coburn’s involvement is particularly notable and especially laudable given his membership in the Family and his otherwise unfriendly positions on LGBT issues. He also gave a convoluted condemnation of the proposed legislation last December. But still, a condemnation is a condemnation, and he’s following that with a co-sponsorship of this Senate resolution. It just goes to show that those who solidly oppose LGBT Americans can still recognize the grossest forms of injustice when they see it.
Of course, that observation doesn’t apply to everyone…
Sens. Feingold, Coburn, Grassley Denounce Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill
December 14th, 2009
The past week has seen a number of Senators and Congressional Representative issue statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act that is before Parliament in Uganda. First, let’s go to Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), to show us how such a statement ought to be done:
I share the outrage of many political, religious and civic leaders in Uganda and around the world about the “anti-homosexuality bill” before the Ugandan Parliament. If enacted, this inhumane bill would sanction new levels of violence against people in Uganda based solely on their gender or sexual orientation. Its passage would hurt the close working relationship between our two countries, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last month, I have conveyed these concerns to the State Department and directly to President Museveni, and I urge Uganda’s leaders to reject this bill.
So notice what he did: 1) He put his statement on his Senate web site for everyone to see, 2), he relayed his concerns to the State Department, 3) he contacted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni directly about his concerns, and 4) his statement is free from any political baggage. It’s simply a straightforward statement of right and wrong. And as far as I can tell, he did it without having to succumb to major media pressure, which makes his statement all the more believable.
Now contrast that with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has been identified as being a member of the secretive Evangelical group known as “The Family.” He released his statement through an email sent out by aGOProud, the LGBT Republican group that formed after former members of the Log Cabin Republicans thought it became too liberal. Coburn’s statement wasn’t put on his Senate web page, he didn’t contact the state department or Ugandan officials, and he cloaked his statement in some very odd political wrappings:
“Over the past two decades, political, religious, and community leaders in Uganda have united to promote a rare, winning strategy against HIV that addresses the unique and common risks of every segment of society. Sadly, some who oppose Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy are using an absurd proposal to execute gays to undermine this coalition and winning strategy. Officials in Uganda should come to their senses and take whatever steps are necessary to withdraw this proposal that will do nothing but harm a winning strategy that is saving lives.”
Strange, isn’t it? Who does he suggest is “opposing Uganda’s common sense ABC strategy”? Might it be Tom Coburn himself — the man who wants to undermine ABC so that only AB remains by dropping condoms from the Abstinence/Be Faithful/Use Condoms trilogy? It seems that Cobern’s concern is not toward people who would be directly affected by Uganda’s attempt to legislate LGBT people out of existence, but the embarrassment it brings to those who want to meddle in Uganda’s AIDS strategy by imposing abstinence only education.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) who has also been identified as being a member of The Family, had initially refused to comment when asked on , using the excuse that he isn’t in the Ugandan parliament and was unfamiliar with the law. But on Friday (Dec 11), he decided to tell us he’s against it.
Based on what I’ve been able to learn about the legislation and from the stand point that I’m a born again Christian, I can tell you that I don’t agree with this un-Christian and unjust proposal, and I hope the Ugandan officials dismiss it,” he said.
After hemming and hawing, Grassley ended up doing considerably better than Coburn. At least he didn’t try to entangle his statement with strange partisan attacks. Plus, he issued his statement through the Iowa Independent, and not some special interest group’s email to members where it might not get noticed so easily. Now if only he could get it to Museveni’s eyes and ears…